Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday : The Business of Christian Education XXXVIII

Eli, Eli, lama asavtani?
אלי אלי למה עזבתני
My God, my God, why do you forsake me?
Matthew 27:46 (Psalms 22:1)

The most agonizing feeling is when one is abandoned by the person closest to him/her. The feeling is unbearable. There is this urge of denying and rejecting the feeling of abandonment. The culmination of such feeling comes out as a question of frustration.

Jesus' question of frustration gets no answer from God. An unanswered question of frustration will only lead to more frustration. If such questions left unanswered, then the question becomes a statement. Precisely at that point is the most difficult reality to deal with.

The person experiencing abandonment commonly doesn't want to accept the fact that he/she is abandoned. Thus the struggle of trying to reject the fact, of trying to shake off the imagination of being forsaken, which Jesus experienced fully when he prayed in Gethsemane. The question of frustration is thrown in the air expecting an answer.

An answer to the question might not bring satisfaction to the person in agony. However, that
is the only thing one can do in order to find closure of some sort due to the abandonment. Being abandoned is extremely painful in itself. How much more knowing the reason of being abandoned. The reason might be because hate or love. But neither answers will bring any satisfaction whatsoever to the abandoned person.

For the main point of asking the question is to force the person abandoning him to come back and embrace him/her and never let go. If the answer is "because I hate you", then the abandoned person would try to do everything in order to gain the love back. He/she often would say, "I'm sorry, please forgive me, do to me whatever you see fit, just don't abandon me...". If the answer is "because I love you, you will have a better life without me", then the abandoned person would say, "I don't want a better life, I want to be with you."

Jesus, on the cross, received no answer from God. He knows the answer to the why question. But still the agony of being forsaken by the One closest to him forces him to utter the question of frustration. He doesn't want to be forsaken. He knows full well that God doesn't want to forsake him either. But this must be done. Forsaking the son of man must be done. For at that time he is bearing the sin of the world. He becomes the representative of all humankind in being abandoned by God for all eternity. And only through such abandonment, God's just punishment of sin is satisfied. The second death is fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

Being abandoned by God can only mean being left alone in the reality of true death. Because God is Life and the source of all life. Being abandoned by the source of life means the abandoned person receives no life. Jesus is abandoned by the source of all life. He goes through death, alone. In the same way, those who don't accept Jesus as their savior will experience the abandonment by the giver of life into all eternity. Only those who are in Christ Jesus will never experience the abandonment by God as experienced by Jesus. For our second death, the ultimate punishment for our sin, has been fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

If we are in Jesus Christ, therefore, we shall enter eternal life with the giver and source of all life, God himself. Jesus Christ will be there welcoming us into the kingdom of God. Death can't destroy Jesus. For Jesus is the Son of God. In him is life.

Eli, Eli, lama asavtani? receives no answer. But Jesus knows the answer. Moreover, Jesus knows how it is going to end. God forsakes Jesus in order to grant eternal life to all who believe in him. Now, believe, do not harden your heart. Believe and accept Jesus Christ as your savior.


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